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'My exhausting smear test battle'

Many dread being invited for their cervical smear test - but Laurie Hodierne found it exhausting to have to keep asking for appointments, and trying to chase up the result.

He is one of a number of transgender men who still have a cervix but are no longer registered as female at their GP surgery. Laurie was re-registered as male without requesting it, he says. And this means he could miss out on potentially life-saving cervical smear tests because he is not automatically called up for screenings.

As a doctor, Laurie worries others who might be less able to navigate the health system will simply give up trying to get their smear test.

"I understand how the systems work and the language - and despite all of that I find it exhausting," he says. "You keep coming up against a brick wall. It's a healthcare inequality in the sense that you aren't able to get access to the screening programme in the same way."

NHS patients registered as female are invited to a cervical-cancer screening every three years between the ages of 25 and 50, and then every five years until they are 65.

But anyone who has a cervix can develop cervical cancer. The disease often has no symptoms in its early stages and can be fatal.

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Source: BBC News, 17 May 2021


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